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MTN’s fintech transactions hit R666bn

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MTN Group’s fintech transactions reached R666 billion ($44 billion) in the six months to June.

The JSE-listed MTN announced today its fintech strategy is starting to pay off, reporting a 30.7% hike – customer growth went up 8.9% to 30 million, while active Mobile Money (MoMo) users and average revenue per user is pegged R19.60 ($1.30).

The total value of the fintech transactions in the first half of the year to June reached a peak of $44 billion and the company processed 9 193 transactions per minute.

“In May, we launched Africa's first MoMo artificial intelligence service or chatbot in Ivory Coast. Our aYo joint venture insurance business recorded almost 4.2 million registered policy holders across our African footprint in the first half, as we launched the offering in Ghana,” says MTN in a statement.

The mobile operator has been actively pushing to be a dominant force in the financial services space on the continent.

MTN has set a huge target of bringing non-voice revenue above 50% in the next few years and is targeting fintech-related revenue of R90 billion per year for the next three years.

The global fintech investment market, which was valued at $39.6 billion in 2017, is anticipated to grow by more than 18.4% to reach $152.94 billion by 2025, according to WiseGuy Report, a market research and statistical report centre.

Ernst & Young, the global audit and advisory firm, reported that investments in fintech firms reached more than $100 million over the past two years.

MTN aims to increase its focus on fintech and digital services sold over its network, which has more than 240 million subscribers across its 22 territories.

Last month, MTN announced a partnership with financial services group Sanlam to sell high-end insurance products like life cover and funeral policies in South Africa through digital-only channels.

The company says this offering will go live from September to December. MTN is also re-launching mobile money services in SA.

It also appointed former Vodacom chief officer of strategy and M&A, Yolanda Cuba, as group chief digital and fintech officer to lead the operator’s strategic expansion of its financial services and digital solutions.

Speaking to analysts and journalists at the results presentation, MTN’s chief financial officer, Ralph Mupita, said fintech had added 2.3 million base customers and 4.3 million insurance policies are expected to drive the fintech segment for the company.

MTN has also told investors and analysts that its investment in tower companies and e-commerce platforms like Jumia, valued at R40 billion, would be sold over time because they were not long-term strategic assets.

Rob Shuter, the chief executive of MTN Group, said the company is looking to trim its assets in order to focus on core telecoms services.

In a conference call with reporters Wednesday morning, Shuter said the mobile operator had already raised $140 million from the sale of several assets in the first six months of 2019.

“So we’re well on track for our R15 billion (target) over three years. What we really want to say to the investment community is that we’ve got a company with very good growth prospects and a very specific plan to simplify and modernise the group,” he said.

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